Perthshire Colts made their way to the national stadium at Murrayfield on Sunday to contest this years RBS National League Bowl Final. their opponents were Peebles Colts who had won through to the final with a display of powerful and direct running rugby against Greenock Wanderers.
The boys left for Edinburgh and unfortunately had to make a stop at Perth Royal Infirmary. Alex Duncan who had started on the wing in last week's semi final against Deeside was taken seriously ill during the week and found himself in hospital. The boys dropped off a shirt for him as it was only right that he had a strip for the match as he would have played in the final.
Having left the sunshine of Perth, Murrayfield was overcast with a biting wind. Shires game plan started to come undone in the first minute. Findlay Stiven who had been so effective as a flanker in the semi final and had been drafted into the centre to combat Peebles direct running power - had to leave the field with a leg injury. As Shire looked to regain their shape, Peebles struck with a try under the posts when the Shire tackling went missing in action. Shire continued to fight but were struggling with the pace and directness of the Peebles backs and with 10 minutes on the clock, they were 12 - 0 down through conceding another cheap try. Craig Letham fired over a penalty as Shire got on the scoresheet but immediately from the kick off, they undid their good work by conceding yet another poor try. Letham put a penalty just wide and as the half drew to an end, Peebles went over again in the corner. Half time - Colts 3 - Peebles 22
It was time for some words, coaches Craig Ormiston and Alastair Taylor went to it and motivated their troops. Front up tackles needed to be better and possession kept with less poorly placed kicks. The gauntlet was well and truly thrown down.
Shire started the second half much more positively, ripping in to tackles and denying Peebles the cheap opportunities of the first half. Whilst they had possession and territory, their frustrations were growing and when Scott Alcorn galloped away to give them a taste of their own medicine and score under the posts, they looked concerned. Typically enough, Shire undid their own work almost immediately conceding an interception try as they tried to throw the ball around in defiance.
Pete Bruce-Wooton had to leave the field with an eye injury - to be fair he had soldiered on manfully since the 10th minute with what seemed to be a broken thumb. Another re-shuffle of the backs and then Perthshire were about to unleash their best - described by the father of a current Scottish internationalist as 'The best 20 minutes of rugby I've seen all season' - fair comment really.
They started to fling the ball about as they can, Scott Alcorn danced through the defence again to score, Letham striking the post with the attempt at extra points and with 5 minutes left, Charlie Winton carried the ball over the line as Peebles flagged in the face of the astonishing onslaught but with the scoreline at 22 - 27, they regained composure and tied up the ball to see the game out.
If only we'd had another 5 minutes!
A fitting finale to a truly great season for the boys - they were a credit to the club both as a team and as individuals. Calum Blyth, Finlay Campbell, Ross Herbert, Nathan Kirley, Ryan Moon, Will Reynolds, Findlay Stiven and Charlie Winton all played their last game for the Colts and will move to senior rugby, others in the squad may do likewise, others will be back for more next season.
The future's bright - the future's black and white!
Man of the Match - Scott Alcorn - run close by others but the flying wingers two scores were undoubtedly a highlight of any season.
Appendage of the Day - I think we might have a stewards enquiry on this one - Finlay Campbell was the original winner but Ryan Moon put everything in to the Roundhouse incident in a last gasp effort to regain his title from last week.